Are you looking for a job in London? Or have you applied to a London university? Remember that there is something you must do as soon as you land in the British capital.

Do I Need a National Insurance Number (NIN)?

If you’ve just moved to London for work or study, the answer is YES.

What is a National Insurance Number?

A National Insurance number is your own personal account number. It is similar to the Australian TFN, or the American Social Security number and you need one to legally work in the UK.
It is unique to you and it will stay the same one all your life. It ensures that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Why do I need to get a National Insurance Number?

All the students or professionals who are coming to do an internship in London or to work for a company need to get a National Insurance Number in order to work legally. Furthermore, having a National Insurance Number will give you benefits, such as access to NHS services and register to vote in the UK elections.

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Can I work in the UK without a NIN?

You can start working without it, but only if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK. Tell your employer that you’ve applied for one and give it to them as soon as you have it.

Can I apply for a NIN before I move to the UK?

No, You can only apply once you’re in the UK.

How to apply for a National Insurance Number

You need to apply by phone for a National Insurance number to book an interview.

National Insurance number application line:
Telephone: 0800 141 2075
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Welsh language: 0800 141 2349
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm

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What happens when you apply for a NIN?

Jobcentre Plus will send you a letter to ask you to go for an interview where you’ll be asked why you need a National Insurance number. The letter will also include the documents you need to bring to prove your identity:

  • passport or identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

The NIN will be sent to your home, so if you change your address before you receive it, you need to inform the Department for Work and Pensions.

What happens next?

You might be asked to provide additional information before you get your NIN. If this is the case, do it by the agreed date. After that, you will receive another letter informing you whether your application was successful and what your National Insurance number is. Share your National Insurance number with your employer as soon as you can. Do not share your National Insurance number with anyone else.

If you’ve applied but don’t get your National Insurance number before your first payday, then any money you earn will be taxed at a higher rate. Remember that it can take up to 2 weeks to process you NIN after your interview.

Bear in mind, you do not need to apply at all if you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), as you’re automatically assigned an NI number with a BRP (it's normally printed on the back of your permit).

Read more about working and living in London: